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Louisville Zoo animals receive COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus vaccine administered to Amur Tiger, Vikintii at The Louisville Zoo
Coronavirus vaccine administered to Amur Tiger, Vikintii at The Louisville Zoo(Louisville Zoo)
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 4:34 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Louisville Zoo is taking steps to protect its animals from the coronavirus.

The zoo has received doses of a unique COVID-19 vaccine for animals, developed by the animal healthcare company Zoetis.

Friday handlers began to administer the vaccine to 29 apes and cats. It should take a few weeks to complete the inoculations. The process is similar to the annual flu shots that the apes already receive.

The donated Zoetis vaccine is a two-shot series, and the Louisville Zoo is one of 70 zoos to receive the vaccine.

It has been authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of State Veterinarian for Kentucky.

In December 2020, three snow leopards there tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.

“Based on continued cases being reported in zoo animals around the world, and our own experience with the snow leopards, we are eager to get our most susceptible animals vaccinated,” said Louisville Zoo Senior Veterinarian Dr. Zoli Gyimesi. All three were quarantined, cleared, and were fully recovered by January.

So far, evidence has shown that the risk of infected animals spreading the virus to humans is considered low.

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